By Lawal Abiodun Pese
In spite of the recent exponential increase in the spread of Coronavirus, one cannot but commend the efforts of the Ogun and Lagos State Governments on their swift response and strong determination in containing the spread of the Coronavirus in the country. But for their relentless efforts, Nigeria would have suffered an unimaginable fate. God forbid, such fate bedevilling nations like United States, Spain, Italy or the UK etc. Residents of the two States who have remained in lockdown also deserve more commendation for the sacrifice being made through their compliance with the government directives in containing the spread of the virus.
Though, there are a number of skeptics and non-challant individuals who had refused to take precautions. These people cut across age and social strata. Typical instances abound on the streets each time the lockdown is relaxed in Ogun State. One can imagine a situation where you are on a que at a public place with distance of about 5 to 6 feet to the next person only to look back and find out that the next person after you barely gives you a foot distance. You will begin to campaign for social distancing until an intervention from a third party before such person complies with the required distance.
Another experience at a popular pharmaceutical store last week, where I saw two adults in their 30s having a resounding handshake,clocking and interlocking and crowning it with a magnetic hug! One can imagine whether they were unaware of the current situation. Worse still, part of their conversation indicated that they had not seen each other for quite a while, the implications was that neither of the two could guarantee who each had interacted with in recent times. In another scenario that occured at a popular junction around Sapon, Abeokuta, where I saw a man hawking rat poison (sole ko damo) trying to cross the road when his presumed long time friend sighted him and beckoned, both met and gave themselves a deafening handshake and capped it with a hug. I unconsciously exclaimed aloud, “Eeh, with this Coronavirus!”.Both men just looked at me like as if I was from another planet who saw the “usual as the unusual”.
In the midst of this pandemic one needs to be concerned with the attitude of some of the Northern Governors, who had earlier bragged that the region could not observe the lockdown when we started barely 4 weeks ago; one cannot blame them because of their peculiarity. We saw the best they could exhib during Abba Kyari’s burial, we have also heard so much about the ‘strange disease’ that has killed some residents of Kano in the last one week despite continued denial in the number of victims. This is because they have the history of bastardizing anything including the religion they profess. If my knowledge of Islamic Studies in Secondary school did not fail me, the theory of Almajiri that is today bastardized and turned to menace in the region has its origin traced to the Muhajir- who were the early emigrants/ first converts to Islam and the Holy Prophet’s Advisors that emigrated with him from Mecca to Medinah around 610AD in the course of propagating Islam. While those early muslim converts who received the Prophet and his Companions in Medinah are the Ansar (the Helpers) from where the Ansar Udeen Society of today derived its name. Hence, the modern day Almajiri supposed to be great Islamic scholars, who move from State to State, nation to nation preaching the doctrine and practice of Islam, thereby advancing knowledge and adding value to humanity with all the wealth, knowledge and other resources the almighty Allah has bestowed on them.
Today, an Almajiri in the North is a cruel, illiterate, riff-raff, nonentity with no traceable family background, often time, the rejected members of the community orphaned by war, societal malady between the age of 5 and 40 something, who have little or no knowledge of his religion clustering in their hundreds in every neighbourhood under one Alfa and undergoing tutelage most of them have No access to the Holy Qur’an! These army of youths, some of whom are foreigners with no known source of livelihood, take advantage of any situation to unleash terror and violence at will.
Now, imagine a lockdown in the North, who will feed these numerous children of anger and terror? How and who will isolate them? Their leaders have sold and took their destiny. Just one positive case with the Coronavirus by an Almajiri and the whole of the entire North is in trouble! Because they cohabit in hundreds.
Therefore, we implore the South West Governors to ensure that when the curve of the spread of Coronavirus is flattened in the region, our boundary doors with those pretenders should be closed till they sort themselves out. When the boundaries are eventually shut, there should be inter-security cum volunteer monitors to prevent saboteurs, who will frustrate the results already achieved.
Similarly, our people who cannot afford not to eat onions should stock it now and the ‘cow-eaters’ among us should make do with substitute available in the region- chicken, local goat, catfish, tilapia and ice fish etc are good delicacies any day! So that our sacrifice will not be frustrated by our ‘Alakoba Northern neighbours’. May the World Health Organization and the Belinda Gates’ catastrophic prediction on Coronavirus in Africa Not come to pass in Nigeria! Amen.